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News Now

Washington
iAmerican Bankeri notes banker doublethink
WASHINGTON (4/22/08)—The ability of the leader of the American Bankers Association to hold two contradictory beliefs simultaneously—at least where credit unions are concerned—was questioned in the April 21 issue of American Banker. Confused yet? asked a subhead in the publication’s “Washington People” section. The short article pondered whether ABA President Ed Yingling has been “flipping through the pages of George Orwell's '1984,' which defined ‘doublethink’ as the power to hold two contradictory beliefs simultaneously.” The article noted that after the Treasury Department outlined its blueprint for financial regulatory reform, Yingling issued a statement that said, "We are no more ready to abandon the thrift charter than we are to abandon the American family dream of living in a house that you own." That release was closely followed, the article said, by an ABA letter of praise for the Treasury plan, which suggested merging the credit union and bank charters, by saying the two types of institutions are very similar and should be treated as such. “The letter raised eyebrows among some observers, since, generally speaking, the bank and thrift charters are considerably more alike than the bank and credit union ones. “For example, credit unions are cooperatively owned not-for-profits, as opposed to banks, which are for-profit institutions owned by shareholders. In contrast, both bank and thrifts are for-profit organizations,” American Banker noted. The article said the ABA “rejected the claim that the ideas are contradictory.”


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